My Favorite

There are so many great writers in this class and each one has had a unique post for every assignment. I have enjoyed a lot of these pieces but I have been really struck by Mackenzie’s piece “Messages” from the Writing as Social Action assignment. Her topic here is one that most students are aware of as likely most students have heard Kirkbride Jesus preach at one point or another, and there are probably many of us who have also contributed to the online response to Mark at one point or another making her post extremely relatable. Her post here was extremely well written and I really liked how she introduced the topic with a very descriptive opening and a quote by Mark: “But in the heard of people moving to the same places, once you go under the overpass and can see Trabant, the calling begins. ‘God is watching you right now.’.”

Specifically, I thought her incorporation of quotes throughout her piece was very different from what other people posted about for this assignment. She focused her post on the general reaction from the populace and her own feelings about it, highlighting her involvement in the response with a few tweets. But she didn’t focus her entire piece around the tweets she had written, she only used them to emphasize her purpose and, to me, it had a very interesting effect that worked really well. And definitely, I thought her closing paragraph had some thoughtful insights. I tend to tune out the Kirkbride Jesus when I walk by while he’s there, but I never considered it to be similar to advertising from big name companies in a way: “Companies share messages too. We pass by them as consumers and can choose to listen and learn or can choose to pass by.” It’s interesting to think how they throw out messages about their products and even if no one responds directly, they are still getting their word out and perhaps, just like with Kirkbride Jesus, there is a response to it in an online community.

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Class, Fri, 4/21

Writing as a Social Action

Fastwrite: Pick two posts from your classmates that you’d like to talk about. One should focus on a successful attempt to use social media to contribute to a public conversation; the other should focus on an attempt that illustrates some of the problems in trying to do so.

Interviewing Tips: Fenton and Lee

To Do

  1. Mon, 4/24, class: Identify the digital writer you want to profile and set up a time to talk with them. I’ll ask you to share who you’ll be profiling and why in class. We’ll also talk about how to compose interview questions with your particular person in mind.
  2. Wed, 4/26, class: Read Fenton and Lee, chapter 11, on “The Revision Process” (pp. 147–55.)
  3. Thurs, 4/27, 10:00 am: Post your profile to this site.

Social Action

I would like to discuss briefly two posts that I shared on my Facebook page- one I intended for this project and one I did not. Both posts I made relate to inequality and oppression of different groups. The first one I will talk about was made on Tuesday about Rachel Dolezal. If you have not heard of her, she was born to two white parents in Montana but claims she has felt she was African American her whole life. When she became an adult she excessively tanned, got her hair permed, and convinced everyone she met that she was really black- she even lied about who her father was. She studied African American studies at school, became a professor for the course, and held a job as part of the department for NAACP. When her parents outed her as white, she quit all jobs and underwent shaming online. I chose to blog about this because it has gained relevance again today as she will be featured on Dr. Phil. The comment that I attached to the article read:

Nicole Mason

Since racism and cultural appropriation is a topic I see pretty frequently on my Facebook feed (thanks to Trump’s election and proposed actions), I thought it would get at least a few comments. I got my first like within 2 hours, and then a couple more over the next 36 hours. I got one comment thanking me for what I said and sharing about this issue.

 

The second post I made the day before on Monday. This one I did not intend to use for my social action assignment (due to its informal structure and some inappropriate content), but it gained a larger reaction that the post I intended to use. This one centers around misogyny and unrealistic standards for girlfriends. The post is a list from “totalfratmove.com” on ways to be the “perfect college girlfriend” including things like having no insecurities, not being upset if your boyfriend ignores you, not being clingy, and keeping the guy and his fraternity brothers happy. This post got me upset because of its derogatory and degrading tone towards women, which is something I see way too often and am tired of witnessing. I had to share my thoughts with people on Facebook and said:

Nicole Mason (1).png

This post got likes immediately and received a total of 15 reactions (which may not be high for most people but is extremely rare for whenever I share something), however it got no comments. This got me thinking. Did I receive more attention because it was a shorter article (written in list form), with lighter content, and did not come from an official news website? These reasons would make sense because in my opinion people are more likely to click on and read to an article if it relates to them (college website vs. global issue), is a shorter read, and the comment the sharer made along with the article is shorter as well.

Overall, I wasn’t shocked by the amount of responses I got. I was certainly not surprised I got mainly likes, however I was expecting to get more than one comment on the article about Rachel Dolezal since it was a more official article.

Social Action Meets Overwhelming Disinterest

For our “Writing as Social Action” assignment, I decided to share a post on Facebook from an organization that is near and dear to my heart. Recently, I participated in an alternative break program though the university. Through this program, I worked directly with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a large non-profit organization dedicated to mitigating pollution to the bay and advocating for sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices. I learned a lot about the economic and social importance of the bay during the program, and in turn decided that I would utilize a post from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Facebook page for this assignment.

Recently, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation shared an article from the New York Times that discusses the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to programs like the EPA. CBF’s post in conjunction with that article read “Tell Congress to protect the Bay!”. As someone who considers himself an environmentalist and a conservationist, these recent proposals to cut funding have upset me. Furthermore, I felt even more compelled to use this post after working with CBF for a week. I decided to share this article with my friends on Facebook, and write a brief post above expressing my frustration with the cuts and the importance of the Chesapeake Bay. I wrote “The proposed cuts to government programs like the EPA will have extraordinary repercussions. More than the US’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake provides many with opportunities for marine recreation while also supporting the economies of the Mid-Atlantic States through fishing and crabbing. Cutting funds to the EPA would negate regulations and resources that are integral to keeping the bay healthy. It’s time we start putting our planet first #SaveTheBay”.

My hope in sharing this post was not only to draw attention to an issue that I feel is important, but to hopefully get a small dialogue going as well. I envisioned some comments in support of my post, as well as perhaps some that questioned the importance of funding such programs. After all, effective discourse is achieved through weighing different viewpoints. Unfortunately, in the first 24 hours after sharing this post, I had one person react to it, and zero comments. Moreover, the person that reacted to my post is a friend of mine who went on the alternative break trip with me, and she simply liked the post. Furthermore, there were zero comments posted, and thus, no discourse. After the first day, much to my disappointment, there were no subsequent changes on the post in terms of people reacting or commenting.

Where could I have gone wrong? I thought of a few possible answers. I think part of why my post did not get much attention starts with the simple idea that less and less internet users my age use Facebook with the same regularity that they did four years ago. However, this is too convenient of an excuse to make up for the entirety of why my post flopped. I believe that another explanation is that the cause that I advocated for (protecting the Chesapeake Bay) is very specific and does not concern many of my friends on Facebook (I live in New Jersey, neither near the bay, nor in its watershed). Finally, I believe that many people my age are averse to anything political posted on social media forums. While I myself do read a lot about politics, I can empathize with others, because I do not like to put my political views on the internet most of the time. In the future, I think it would be beneficial to focus on an issue that more of my friends and followers can connect with, as well as implore friends to “share, share, share”.

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Class, Mon, 4/19

Writing as Social Action

Fastwrite: In no more than 100 words, describe the intervention into a public discussion that you have attempted  or plan to do. We’ll read them aloud.

Extending Ronson, boyd, and Carr

Fastwrite: Last words: How have social media changed the ways we interact with one another (or not?

To Do

  1. Wed, 4/19, class: Read Fenton and Lee, chapter 7 (p. 83–98).
  2. Thurs, 4/20. 10:00 am: Post Writing as a Social Action to this site.